Campbell Bay, July 24: The tribals of the Nicobar District are one among the worst hit among the islanders during the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. The Tsunami had not only caused the lives of hundreds of tribals but had also rendered them hand to mouth, with their coconut farms getting destroyed. Sixteen long years have passed since then and the tribals are still struggling to get their deserved support from the government. To add to the situation, the Corona pandemic too has brought a scare among the community as they complain that there is no proper screening of passengers arriving in the Nicobar group of islands.

In a letter addressed to the Assistant Commissioner, Campbell Bay, the Chief Captain, Barnabas Manju on behalf of the Tribal Council of Little and Great Nicobar Islands placed the grievances of the tribal community. The grievances include ensuring food security, livelihood opportunities, issue of AAY Ration Cards as per the Apex Court’s directives, job security among others.

“Around 70% of the Nicobari Tribals are below poverty line, especially after the Tsunami struck in 2004”, said Rashid Yusoof, State President, Akhil Bharatiya Aadivasi Parishad, A&N Islands commenting on the issue. It is unfortunate that the government team had done the survey of APL and BPL soon after the initial compensation was given by the government to the victims of tsunami. The assessment team had placed the tribals under APL category but soon after the tribals had exhausted their monitory compensation, they have been forced to become hand to mouth, making survival very difficult, he expressed.

“I humbly request the A&N Administration to find immediate remedy for the grievances of the tribals by re-assessing the financial status of the tribals”, he added.

Rashid has also taken up the matter with the Schedule Tribe Members of Parliament and hopes for a suitable solution to the grievances raised by the tribal members.